Daily Archives: June 5, 2007

Beef Quality Assurance Is For All Producers

Beef Quality Assurance Is For All Producers

Dr. Clyde Lane, professor of animal science and University of Tennessee Extension beef cattle specialist

 Beef cattle producers should start a Beef Quality Assurance Program on their farm. Beef Quality Assurance involves all those things that can be done when producing cattle that will result in a superior beef product for consumers.

The quality of meat produced by the animals on a producer’s farm starts when breeding animals are selected. Producers should select those animals that will produce desirable carcasses when they come out of the feedlot.

The way animals are cared for while on the farm will also have an effect on the quality of meat produced. Producers need to perform those practices that will keep the animals healthy and productive. A good beef cattle handling facility is needed to prevent bruises and to restrain the animal while necessary health practices are performed. Animals should be handled as gently as possible.

Selection of the type of injections and the site of the injections are also very important items in a quality assurance program. All injections should be given in the neck. Injections should be given just under the skin (subcutaneous) instead of the muscle (intramuscular) if the label on the medication will permit. Do not give injections in the rump. Injections given in this area may cause abscesses or lesions. Producers should follow all instructions on medication labels.

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Natural Service versus Estrous Synchronization and AI

Natural Service versus Estrous Synchronization and AI

by Ryon S. Walker, Regional Extension Educator – Beef, University of Minnesota

This time of year producers are planning their summer breeding season schedules. In the months prior to the breeding season, producers are fine tuning their herd bull management. Every year the question always sits in the back of most producers’ minds whether they should try using estrus synchronization and artificial insemination (AI) this year. However, the lack of change and a producer’s management goals usually persuade the use of natural service breeding over estrus synchronization and AI from year to year. The question remains, if goals such as length of a calving season, reproduction, growth or carcass performance are being achieved with natural service breeding, why change. Remember there are pros and cons to both natural service versus estrus synchronization and AI. Utilizing natural service requires management of factors affecting fertility of bulls such as nutrition, health, injury and age and having to purchase herd bull replacements of superior quality and genetics can become costly to a producer as well.


Don’t leave cull cow money on the table

Don’t leave cull cow money on the table

American Cowman

Generally, ranchers leave dollars on the table when it comes to marketing their cull cows, says Jeff Carter, an assistant professor in the University of Florida’s North Florida Research and Education Center in Marianna. On average, cull cows can produce 10-20% of the total revenue in a beef cow-calf enterprise. Increasing that value by just a third can improve overall ranch revenue by as much as nearly 6%. And as little as a 10% increase in net income from the sales of cull cows would nearly double the overall ranch profit margin.

Thanks to the availability of economical and plentiful byproduct feeds, feeding cull cows can add value to an animal that has otherwise held only salvage value. Cows with a higher body condition score, and more weight, optimize economic returns by delivering both a higher carcass value and a higher live value.


The Cow-Calf Manager: Dealing with Drought Involves Planning

The Cow-Calf Manager: Dealing with Drought Involves Planning

Dr. John B. Hall Extension Beef Cattle Specialist, VA Tech

An important drought management strategy is early pregnancy diagnosis.  Within 30 to 45 days of the end of the breeding season, veterinarians can diagnose pregnancy in the herd.  Those vets skilled in the use of ultrasound can diagnose pregnancies as early as 25 to 28 days post breeding.  Identifying and culling non-pregnant females in midsummer rather than fall will reduce the overall feed requirements of the herd.  Reducing pressure on pastures will improve pasture quality and reserve feed for the most productive cows.


Ethanol’s Effects On Cattlemen Offers Many Unknowns

Ethanol’s Effects On Cattlemen Offers Many Unknowns

Burt Rutherford

Beef Magazine

What effect will the rush to ethanol have on cattlemen? There are a lot more questions than answers.

It’s pretty hard to have a conversation nowadays that doesn’t turn, sooner or later, toward ethanol. What about corn prices? Supplement prices? Calf prices? Feeder-cattle prices?

And the answers? Your guess is as good as anybody’s.

There are a few things you can count on, however. The first and most long lasting is that ethanol — the bad and the ugly, as well as the good — is here to stay.


Cattle Preconditioning Forum: Vaccinating & Deworming Bulls

Cattle Preconditioning Forum: Vaccinating & Deworming Bulls


If bulls are housed separately from the cows for most of the year, they are often forgotten and do not receive the same herd health protocol. The herd bulls should be on the same vaccination/deworming schedule as the cows are. Since vaccination schedules vary as much as production systems do, there is no “correct” schedule that everyone should stick with. So, if in doubt, vaccinate and/or deworm your bulls about 2 weeks before they go out to pasture. This will allow for enough time for the vaccine and dewormer to take effect before the bull is exposed to the cows.


Animal emergencies illustrate need for disease traceability system

Animal emergencies illustrate need for disease traceability system

The Dunn County News (WI)

Recent cases of pseudorabies in Wisconsin swine and a weather emergency in Colorado have demonstrated in real life how premises registration can protect livestock producers, their animals and the livestock industry.

Benefits of premises registration have been “what-if?” scenarios. The need for producers to participate in premises registration is more evident in light of these recent events.

“During the pseudorabies investigation, farms that were registered could be directly contacted and the animals were quickly tested,” said Dr. Robert Ehlenfeldt, Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) state veterinarian. “We had to go door to door to locate animals at unregistered premises, which slowed down our ability to test for the disease.”

As part of the Wisconsin Premises Registration Act, livestock owners in Wisconsin have registered over 56,000 premises. The goal of the system is to have a comprehensive database of names, phone numbers and species locations to provide animal health officials with a tool to rapidly locate and contact owners of affected premises that may have been exposed to a contagious disease.


Fewer supplies and high gas prices could raise hay prices

Fewer supplies and high gas prices could raise hay prices

Ashland Daily Times

BEND — Hay prices are expected to increase to as much as $250 per ton this summer, officials say.

It will be a big jump from last year, when prices ranged from $150 per ton to $175 per ton, said Tony Aceti, owner of Aceti’s Hay Depot on U.S. 97 north of Bend.

Farmers who grow hay, meanwhile, are experiencing higher fuel costs that are eating away at their profits, Aceti said.

“Even the twine to bale the hay costs more because it’s made from a petroleum-based product,” he said.

Central Oregon sales for alfalfa and grass hay grew 36 percent last year from $23.9 million in 2005 to $32.4 million in 2006, according to the Oregon Agricultural Information Network, which provides state and county agricultural data.


Do we really want China to ‘eat more beef’?

Do we really want China to ‘eat more beef’?


Scripps Howard News Service


Editor’s note: Stories of this ilk are included in the blog to inform those in our industry how agriculture is being presented to and perceived by the public.


Recently I was in Cordoba, Spain, in Andalucia, which happens to be the home of the corrida de toros or, in English, the bullfight. Bullfighting is a brutal, archaic practice that’s virtually impossible to defend philosophically, though many have tried. On the other hand, the Spanish might deserve at least some credit for the sheer honesty of their ritualistic demonstration that humanity’s fondness for meat-eating depends on a good deal of suffering and much spillage of real blood.

It’s easy for Americans who have never seen a dead cow or a side of beef to forget that tidy cellophane-wrapped packages of red meat are available in our supermarkets only because docile beasts have been produced for that purpose and put to death, ordinarily under gruesome conditions.

And speaking of bull, I watched President Bush’s May 24 press conference on one of the two English channels carried in the hotel on Cordoban television. A reporter asked the president about our trade balance with China. The president said that China needs to start buying American beef. “It’ll be good for ’em,” he drawled. “They’ll like it.”


Women’s role expanding

Women’s role expanding


Garden City Telegram (KS)

   It used to be that women played more of a supportive role in the cattle industry, taking care of the family and handling things behind the scenes. But that’s changed as time has progressed, said Kate Siegfried, who helps keep records for J.O. Cattle Co., owned by her father, Larry Jones.

Kim Miller, left, and Brook Holstein, both with IMI Global, speak on cattle source and age verification on Wednesday to a group gathered during an educational seminor for Beef Empire Days hosted by the Southwest Kansas CattleWomen. Miller is a member of the CattleWomen organization.

Kim Miller, left, and Brook Holstein, both with IMI Global, speak on cattle source and age verification on Wednesday to a group gathered during an educational seminor for Beef Empire Days hosted by the Southwest Kansas CattleWomen. Miller is a member of the CattleWomen organization.

   While women often still serve the traditional role, Siegfried and others believe they’ve also taken a “more hands-on” approach to the cattle industry from being on processing teams to running feed yard operations.


Cattlemen Eye Swift Deal Warily

Cattlemen Eye Swift Deal Warily

By Richard Martin

New West

Reverberations from the proposed sale of meatpacker Swift & Co. to a Brazilian conglomerate have now reached from Denver to Washington D.C. to Sao Paulo. Many ranchers in the West are “relieved,” the Post reports, because the sale will keep Swift’s four plants operating and could result in higher beef prices. Lower worldwide demand has resulted in a price slump for beef in recent years, and the Swift plant in Greeley – scene of a December immigration raid that resulted in 1200 arrests – had cut one of its two shifts. The new owners say they plan to go back to two shifts a day, and retain the current workforce.


Climate Change May Cut Yields, Feed Fires, USDA Says

Climate Change May Cut Yields, Feed Fires, USDA Says

By Alan Bjerga

Bloomberg News

Global warming could reduce U.S. corn yields 1.5 percent in the next 30 years and harm the livestock industry, according to the initial draft of the first major climate report from the Agriculture Department in five years.

More wildfires, longer droughts and greater heat stress on animals will disrupt U.S. agriculture, forcing farmers to change land and water management practices, the department said. U.S. crops were valued at $122.4 billion in 2006, with corn accounting for $33.8 billion, the USDA said.

The report was based on observed effects of climate change on U.S. agriculture, rather than the computer models used in past studies, David Schimel, a lead writer of the report, said before it was released. The initial document is less optimistic than the USDA’s 2002 climate report, he said.


Irsik Doll, Lakin big winners in Carcass Show

Irsik Doll, Lakin big winners in Carcass Show


Garden City Telegram

A blast of cool air had a group of people huddling close to one another as they walked past the hanging beef carcasses in the coolers of the Tyson Fresh Meats plant near Holcomb.

The group of cattle owners and producers walked the rows of carcasses Saturday night, comparing their cattle to the ones around them.


Glycerin shown to be a viable feed alternative

Glycerin shown to be a viable feed alternative

Western Livestock Journal

As the rush to discover feed byproducts that may be comparable to corn continues in the wake of higher priced grains and demand for ethanol, U.S. scientists may have found a viable alternative. Scientists at the University of Missouri (MU) are well on their way to proving that glycerine can be fed to cattle and may be comparable in its nutritional value to corn. Glycerin is chemically classified as alcohol and is a byproduct that comes from soybean oil as a result of the trans-esterification process when producing biodiesel.

In a study that began in May, Dr. Monty Kerley, professor of ruminant nutrition at MU, is examining the effects that result from using glycerin in cattle feeds. The study will continue through the month of November. During this time, Kerley will monitor 60 calves of various breeds in an effort to determine whether or not glycerin can be considered a viable feed alternative. The study will take into account all growth factors and will assess glycerin’s affect on meat quality.

There are three separate study groups, all of which consume different levels of glycerine from 5 percent to 20 percent daily.


Ever Wonder What’s In A Cow’s Stomach? Now We Know

Ever Wonder What’s In A Cow’s Stomach? Now We Know


Fayetteville, AR — Guessing about the contents of a cow’s stomach is a thing of the past for University of Arkansas researchers _ all they have to do is reach in and take a sample. The university’s Animal Science Department has surgically implanted 4-inch-wide tubes, called cannulas, in the sides of 12 cows.

The cannulas allow the scientists to get a real-time look at a bovine’s stomach contents in a study of the effect of grazing on nutrient run off into river watersheds.


Beef prices soaring in area

Beef prices soaring in area



Augie Fernandes poses in the beef section of his Chartley Country Store in Rehoboth. (Staff photo by Martin Gavin)

REHOBOTH – Augie Fernandes has been in the meat business for more than 30 years, and says he has never seen anything like it.

The price of beef has shot up faster the past two months than anytime in his three decades of buying and selling meat to area consumers.

New York strips were selling for $7.99 a pound a couple of months back. They are now up to $9.89. Hamburger was $3.29. It is up to $3.59.

“This is the biggest jump I have ever seen,” he said.


Expert: Make more use of forages, feed less grain

Expert: Make more use of forages, feed less grain

By Mike Surbrugg

Joplin Globe

MOUND VALLEY, Kan. — Cow-calf producers should make more use of forages and feed less grain to cattle.

That is the advice that Rodney Jones, Kansas State University livestock production economist, provided at a beef cattle and forage meeting held last month at Mound Valley. The economist said beef producers always face uncertain times caused by weather and costs. Weather dictates cattle cycles because forage supplies are the key to building cattle numbers, he said.

The drought that hit Missouri, Kansas and Texas in 2006 has moved and forage conditions are much better in these states. How fast cattle owners return to building herd numbers will impact calf prices in two to four years, he said.

The nation was still slaughtering old cows in early 2007 and quite a few young heifers went to slaughter in January and February.

“That shows we are not off and running to rebuild the cow herd, yet,” he said.

Cattle producers face conflicting signals if they should rebuild cattle numbers, he said. The weather says “Yes,” calf prices say “Yes,” but costs are a big question.